HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND AFFORDABLE WARMTH
This is the first review of Solihull’s Home Energy Efficiency and Affordable Warmth
Strategy. This comes at a time of significant upward movement in fuel prices and the
consequent likelihood of an increase in fuel poverty. We have reviewed our policies
and methodology to maximise our support to the most vulnerable residents in
The purpose of the strategy is to guide the Council and partner agencies in
committing resources to two linked objectives:
1. to improve the energy efficiency of domestic dwellings in Solihull
2. to work towards the reduction of fuel poverty throughout the Borough.
In working toward these objectives the Council will rely on the support and
contribution of many organisations in the private and voluntary sectors.
This Strategy statement is structured as follows:
1. an outline of the strategic framework, drawing on sources from the global to the
2. a summary of the current situation on home energy efficiency and fuel poverty in
Solihull at the end of 2008.
3. an outline of the resources which are available to the Council and partner
agencies to improve the situation and the range of possible actions
4. an assessment of the customer base
5. an appraisal of available and preferred options for action
6. an action plan with measurable targets
The Strategy will be revised and updated regularly to take account of changes in the
policy context and the fuel market
The Council and partner agencies will pursue the twin objectives of improving energy
efficiency and reducing fuel poverty within a strategic framework that is developing at
many levels, from global to local.
The onset of climate change through global warming has brought about pressure for a
coherent policy response at the international level.
The increased international focus on the need to reduce carbon emissions has led
the UK Government to introduce a series of legislation, policy papers, guidance and
initiatives aimed at encouraging the reduction in carbon emissions.
As the residential sector is an important source of carbon emissions these include
measures for the house building industry, local authorities and others, all aimed at
improving energy efficiency in new and existing homes.
A commitment to reducing carbon emissions was contained in the 2003 energy white
paper ‘Our energy future – creating a low carbon economy’.
This defined a long-term strategic vision to put the country on a path to cut carbon
emissions 60 per cent by 2050 with ‘real progress’ by 2020. Adequate and affordable
heating in all homes were amongst the objectives contained in the paper.
In November 2007, the Climate Change Bill was introduced into Parliament. The Bill
aims to demonstrate the leadership required to engage others in an international
framework for activity, to minimise the cost of transition and ensure domestic and
international targets can be met.
For the housing sector this involves:
- raising standards of construction through the Building Regulations
- further encouraging sustainability in new developments through the Code for
- the inclusion of heating – related hazards (such as lack of heating and mould
growth) in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which
replaced the Fitness Standard in April 2006.
- the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates for new homes and those
which are sold or let from August 2008
- the introduction of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, which aims to
encourage uptake of both energy efficiency and micro-generation technologies in
The present level of Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) funding from utility
companies has been doubled to £2.8 billion for the period 2008-2011. The new
Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) will be the third phase of EEC. For
the first time this will include technology such as solar panels and will save over one
million tonnes of carbon a year. New measures including the introduction of Smart
Meters and real time display in households are due to begin in 2009. Details of how
CERT funding is being utilised in Solihull can be found on page 18.
It is clear that, as domestic dwellings currently account for almost half of the UK’s
carbon emissions, that the improvement of the thermal efficiency of homes will be a
continuing policy at the national level, with the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality in
newly built properties.
The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group sponsored by the Department for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and
Regulatory Reform (BERR) estimated that in 2007 there were about 2.9m
households in fuel poverty in England, including 2.3m vulnerable households. These
are the highest levels for almost ten years.
Since the national target was set fuel prices have increased significantly and at the
current time are more than offsetting any gains through reducing energy costs which
have been achieved through initiatives such as the Warm Front scheme.
Government produced an Energy Measures report in September 2007 which
confirmed the view that local authorities are uniquely placed to act on climate change
mitigation and to alleviate fuel poverty. They can take action on their own housing
stock but can also motivate the wider community to take action, based on their
understanding of local priorities, risks and opportunities.
The report contains information on measures that local authorities can use including:
Improving energy efficiency
Increasing the levels of microgeneration or low carbon technologies
Reducing greenhouse emissions
Reducing the number of people living in fuel poverty.
Local authorities must have regard to the report when exercising their functions, and
accordingly this strategy is consistent with the message that ‘Energy Measures’
The West Midlands Regional Energy Strategy, launched in December 2004, aims
to improve regional support and delivery of national programmes for tackling climate
change through improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable
Amongst the regional targets are:
- the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions within the domestic sector of 19% by
2010 and a further 29% reduction by 2020.
- heat from renewable sources providing 0.3% of consumption by 2010 and 1% of
consumption by 2020.
- adoption of new technologies including biomass, wind turbines, landfill gas fuelled
generators and ground-source heat pumps.
The Regional Sustainable Development Framework – A Sustainable Future for
the West Midlands provides a framework to help ensure that policies and plans
contribute towards a sustainable future for the Region. The RSDF sets out a vision
and a set of sustainable development objectives that include climate change and
energy conservation. It also sets out a process by which these principles and
objectives can be incorporated into the development, review and implementation of
strategies and plans.
Solihull is a member of the Sustainable Housing Partnership which brings together
20 Midlands local authorities, registered social landlords, West Midlands Regional
Assembly, Government Office and Advantage West Midlands. Quarterly meetings
are held to discuss regional energy issues new initiatives and best practice.
The Council and its partner agencies in the Solihull Partnership have set out broad
shared objectives which guide the development of policy in Solihull:
Solihull’s Sustainable Community Strategy ‘One Borough: An Equal Chance For
All’, is a vision for the kind of Borough we want in ten years time, and a map for how
we get there. The Strategy has been produced by the Solihull Partnership, and
formally agreed by the organisations that make up that Partnership.
The purpose of the Solihull Partnership and the Strategy is to make the
improvements needed to create the kind of Solihull: where everyone has an equal
chance to be healthier, happier, safer, and more prosperous.
In order to achieve this four change priorities have been identified:
Building healthier communities
Building safer communities
Building stronger communities
Building more prosperous communities
Energy efficiency and affordable warmth issues can be addressed within, ‘Building
healthier communities’ and ‘Building prosperous communities’.
Solihull’s Local Area Agreement (LAA) contains a statement on sustainability in
Solihull, giving a commitment to work toward national objectives. This includes both
of the objectives of the Home Energy Efficiency and Affordable Warmth Strategy. It
outlines current and future activity including:
- the development of a Climate Change Strategy and action plan for Solihull
- progress being made through the North Solihull regeneration programme
- a commitment to requiring the use of renewable energy sources in some new
developments (following the Merton rule) and a commitment to exceed the
requirements of the Building Regulations on heating and insulation.
The LAA also addresses the health inequalities within the Borough and particular
common health problems. Much of this is relevant to this strategy given the strong
links between the quality of the home, particularly the ability to keep it warm, and the
characteristics of the occupier, particularly older people and low-income families with
To contribute to the headline target of reducing health inequalities and premature
mortality, the LAA specifies the contribution of the Council’s Decent Homes
programme (particularly central heating system improvements) and a 10% annual
increase in referrals of people in fuel poverty to the Energy Advice Centre.
The LAA is clear that whilst environmental targets are included as a statement of
intent, the Solihull Partnership wishes to further develop its strategy for
environmental sustainability in the Borough.
There is a growing recognition of the need for the Council and its partners to be
proactive in reducing energy consumption. In signing the Nottingham Declaration in
February 2007, the Council has pledged to actively tackle climate change in Solihull
by working with partners to tackle its causes and effects.
The potential contribution of the housing sector to these objectives is considerable
and is drawn together in the Council’s Housing Strategy which, amongst its
objectives, is committed to maintaining and improving the Borough’s housing stock in
all tenures and supporting vulnerable people.
The Decent Homes standard is no longer relevant to private sector housing. Local
authorities now have the freedom to set policies based upon local need. A new policy
is being developed that will utilise the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System in
order to provide assistance for vulnerable clients.
In addition to meeting the Decent Homes Standard in the Council’s housing stock;
Solihull Community Housing is committed to further improving the environmental
performance of homes in its management and has developed a long term Climate
Change Plan. This will complement the Council’s Climate Change Strategy and will
be consistent with this strategy.
A Health Inequalities Action Plan has been developed by the Solihull Partnership
as a way of addressing the significant health inequalities that exist in Solihull and
reducing excess winter deaths. The Action Plan highlights the need to train staff in
the identification of ‘fuel poor’ households as well as the ability to signpost clients to
partners in order to ensure that appropriate assistance is made available.
Over the next 14 years the North Solihull Regeneration area (defined by the wards
of Chelmsley Wood, Smiths Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge) will see the
construction of 8000 new homes, half of which will replace existing properties. This is
clearly an outstanding opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of the housing
stock in the area and offer residents new homes which are cheaper to heat, thereby
reducing risk of fuel poverty.
A Design Code has been introduced for the regeneration area. This requires all new
residential development as a result of regeneration activity to attain at least level 3 of
the Code for Sustainable Homes. This will be revised on a regular basis with the
expectation that developers will better level 3 over time. There will also be continued
investment in existing homes through Decent Homes programmes and through this
Energy in Solihull – Key Facts and Figures
There are approximately 87,000 domestic dwellings in the Borough of Solihull
The number of fuel poor households in Solihull was estimated to be 9,091 at
31st March 2008
Excess winter mortality in Solihull was estimated to be 150 people during 2005/06
Housing and Households in Solihull
Solihull has a population of 203,900 in 87,000 households. This is projected to
increase to 206,000 people in 89,000 households by 2021. The proportion of the
population which consists of older people is increasing and this is driving an increase
in lone-person households, which currently account for 26% of the total.
Solihull has a particularly constrained housing market with house prices substantially
above the average for the West Midlands metropolitan area and an acute shortage of
78% of homes in Solihull are owner-occupied, 12% are rented from the Council with
the remainder being owned by Housing association or private landlords.
The Borough’s housing stock is generally of more recent construction and in better
condition than other West Midlands Metropolitan districts. However, 15% of Solihull’s
council owned homes do not meet the Decent Homes standard and approximately
25% of its private properties are in substantial disrepair.
The characteristics of the housing stock and demographic trends have a number of
implications for energy efficiency and affordable warmth, including:
- older people are less likely to be able to afford to heat their homes to acceptable
standards. As the number and proportion of older-person households increases
there is likely to be a consequent increase in related health problems
- the incidence of deprivation, particularly in North Solihull, which contains three
wards that are amongst the 10% most deprived in England. Households on low
incomes spend a disproportionate amount of their income on heating.
- the age distribution of the housing stock with over two thirds being built since
1945 means that a higher proportion of homes have central heating than the
West Midlands average, although many homes have systems which are below
modern efficiency standards
- the incidence of high –value homes makes it more likely that homeowners have
invested in the repair and improvement of their properties, though this must be
seen in the context of an ageing population which is likely to reduce the financial
capacity of occupiers to invest in their homes in the future.
- the low incidence of older, privately rented homes including Houses in Multiple
Occupation means that the usual problems associated with this type of housing
are not a significant problem in Solihull.
Energy Efficiency of the Housing Stock
The energy efficiency of a property can be described in terms of an ‘energy cost
rating’ which provides a measure of the annual unit energy cost of space and water
heating for the dwelling under a standard regime, assuming specific heating patterns
and room temperatures.
The energy cost rating used in this strategy is the Government – specified Standard
Assessment Procedure (SAP). The SAP calculation assumes a standard occupancy
pattern, derived from the measured floor area so that the size of the dwelling does
not strongly affect the result, which is expressed on a 0-100 scale. The higher the
number the better the energy efficiency of the property.
The SAP takes into account a range of factors that contribute to energy efficiency,
Thermal insulation of the building fabric
Efficiency and control of the heating system
The fuel used for space and water heating
Ventilation and solar gain characteristics of the dwelling
The physical characteristics of a dwelling have a major effect on its energy
consumption. The number of exposed external walls and the construction materials
and methods will affect the overall heat loss and therefore the efficiency, thus
different types and ages of dwellings will have different energy characteristics. Age
and building type are helpful in establishing the potential energy efficiency of a
dwelling but levels of insulation and heating provision also need to be examined to
give a full picture.
Using the data from the Solihull’s Private Sector House Condition Survey (July 2004)
and data from Solihull Community Housing (March 2008), it can be estimated that the
overall SAP rating for all homes in Solihull is 57. This divides into ratings of 66 for
social sector (SCH and housing association) homes and 56 for the private sector.
Homes in Solihull fall into 3 categories of SAP:
The least energy efficient with a SAP of 0-39 = 5% of dwellings
The average energy efficiency rating with a SAP of 40-70 = 75% of dwellings
A good energy efficiency rating of 71 and above = 20% of dwellings
The aim of this strategy will be to increase the overall SAP of the Borough’s housing
stock (with a target of 58 by 2010).
Within this there will be a particular focus on raising the performance of homes with a
SAP of 39 or less as it is these homes that are hardest to heat and most likely to
create the conditions for fuel poverty. In the main these are 3 and 4 bedroom homes
of traditional construction built before 1960, and particularly those built before the
Guidance on the now rescinded Decent Homes Standard from Communities and
Local Government suggests that a SAP of 35 or lower can be taken as a proxy for a
Category 1 Cold Hazard as defined by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
Since the commencement of the HHSRS in April 2006, 23 such cold hazards have
been identified and these households have received assistance via Solihull’s Home
The Energy Action Grants Agency (EAGA) has undertaken work as part of Warm
Front to install, repair or renew 388 heating systems in Solihull during 2007-08, an
increase of 117 from 2006/07. Loft and or cavity wall insulation has also been
installed in 364 homes. Prior to completion of these essential works each dwelling
may have been considered as having a category 1 cold hazard under HHSRS.
The 2005/06 Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for Solihull Community Housing
stock was calculated at an average level of 58. A SAP of 66 has been achieved for
2007/08. This significant average increase in SAP across SCH dwellings has not only
been achieved by the installation of energy efficiency measures as part of the Decent
Homes programme, but is also due to increased energy data collection.
SCH will continue to collect energy efficiency data as part of the Decent Homes
Programme that will highlight dwellings with a SAP of below 35 to ensure appropriate
energy efficiency measures are installed in these dwellings as a priority.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Energy Performance Certificates were initially introduced as part of the Home
Information Pack (HIPs), when a private property was marketed for sale. Since
October 2008 social landlords are required to provide an EPC to all new tenants and
for sales undertaken through Right-to-Buy.
EPCs indicate the energy performance of the dwelling dependant on the energy use
in heating, hot water and lighting. The information is given on a bar chart similar to
that found on domestic appliances giving their energy efficiency rating from A to G.
The EPC also indicates the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions and fuel costs for the
property and also sets out recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of
Once produced, the EPC is kept on a national register, administered by Landmark
Solutions, on behalf of the government. The EPC has a life of 10 years unless major
alterations are carried out to the property which affects its energy use etc.
Solihull Community Housing will use the data gleaned from the production of the
EPC’s to target dwellings with a low SAP rating and undertake energy efficiency
works as necessary.
This strategy adopts the Government’s measure of fuel poverty, which is defined in
relation to a household’s income and heating costs, i.e. “a household that has to
spend in excess of 10% of its net income in order to maintain a satisfactory heating
regime” is defined as fuel – poor. The measure of whether a heating regime is
satisfactory is the same as the thermal comfort criterion within the Decent Homes
standard, 21C in the living room and 18C in the other occupied rooms.
The March 2008 estimate of the number of ‘fuel poor’ households in Solihull was
9,091 which accounts for nearly 10.5% of households. See table below.
Fuel poverty is caused by a combination of ‘property’ factors (including expensive
heating systems and poor insulation) and ‘people’ factors (such as age and income).
Compared with all households those in fuel poverty are more likely to be headed by a
person of pensionable age and / or a person with a physical disability, long-term
limiting illness and low-income families with children.
Very often those least well off live in the poorest and oldest housing, and under-
occupation is also a factor, especially for older owner-occupiers. In addition, those
heating systems that are the cheapest to buy and install are also often the most
expensive to run.
The situation is potentially made worse for those who pay for fuel by prepayment
meters, for which the tariffs are significantly higher than for customers who pay by
direct debit. It is likely that pre-payment meter customers pay £255 more per year than
direct debit customers.
Fuel poverty often leads to poor health and each winter there are over 40,000
additional deaths nationally, compared to the average mortality rate for the rest of the
It is now acknowledged that cold homes are the major domestic health hazard. It is
also a key factor in social exclusion, for example in the case of children, poor health
and living in cold, damp homes reduces their ability to receive a full education, which
can have implications for the rest of their lives.
The number of fuel poor households at any one time depends largely on fuel prices
compared to incomes.
Those on low and / or fixed incomes are most susceptible to upward price
movements. The Department of Trade and Industry predicts that for every 1%
increase in domestic energy costs, an additional 40,000 households will fall into fuel
A Fuel Poverty Risk Assessment methodology has been established to measure year
on year changes in the numbers of people currently estimated to be at risk of fuel
This method takes into account the main factors that influence the numbers of
households in fuel poverty: the installation of energy efficiency measures to fuel poor
households, energy price changes and household income. The number of
households that have received energy efficiency measures and those whose
increased incomes would have taken them above the fuel poverty threshold are
subtracted from the previous years baseline figure. It is then necessary to calculate
the number of households that fall into fuel poverty as a direct result of increased fuel
prices. This figure is then added to the total to give a net increase or decrease in fuel
poverty household numbers.
The latest progress report for the period April 2007 - March 2008 used data for
energy efficiency improvements carried out in Solihull, average fuel price rises and
average increases in income over the same period. This shows that 1,374
households were taken out of fuel poverty during this period, but fuel price increases
put 135 households into fuel poverty, so by the end of the period there were 1,239
fewer fuel-poor households in Solihull.
Table 1: Fuel Poverty Estimations in Solihull
Fuel Poverty estimations Owner Private Housing Local All
occupiers rented association authority tenures
Numbers in fuel poverty
April 2007 8,181 430 296 1,423 10,330
Percentage in fuel poverty
11.73% 12.75% 12.68% 12.65% 11.91%
Reduction in fuel poverty
729 64 9 185 987
due to measures
Increase in fuel poverty
108 6 3 18 135
due to fuel prices
Reduction in fuel poverty
311 16 9 51 387
due to income
Percentage in fuel poverty
10.68% 10.87% 12.32% 11.01% 10.45%
New baseline for 2008-09 7,249 356 281 1,205 9,091
The Effects of Fuel Price Increases on Fuel Poverty
Energy Price Increase and Implications
The National Housing Federation estimate that Gas and Electricity fuel price
increases recently announced by utility companies will increase the number of fuel
poor households to 5.7 million by the end of 2009. This assumption is supported by
the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) who estimates
that around 4.5 million households in the UK were fuel poor in August 2008 and that
this number is expected to increase by 35% to nearly 6 million in 2009.
Average fuel bills are expected to increase from £1,320 (August 2008) to £1,406 by
2010. The fuel poverty baseline for Solihull estimates that 9,091 households were
fuel poor in March 2008. It is likely that this number will increase to around 14,000 by
Table 2: Fuel Poverty Trends in Solihull
Fuel Poverty Trends in Solihull
Number of households
2005/6 2006/7 2007/8 2008/9 2009/10
The above graph shows the estimated number of fuel poor homes in Solihull and
highlights the dramatic effect the recent fuel price increases are likely to have both
now and in the future. There is a need to provide support for residents who will
receive inflated fuel bills this winter.
In the event that fuel prices continue to rise, the task of eradicating fuel poverty, in
line with Government targets would not be achievable.
A new £1bn package of measures was announced late in 2008 that will provide:
Free cavity wall and loft insulation for everyone over 70 years and poor
50% off the cost of insulation for all households
A freeze on this years fuel bills for half a million poor customers
Not as much reduction in the Warm Front budget for 2009/10 as was previously
Cold weather payments to go up from £8.50 a week to £25.00 a week for
pensioners, disabled people and unemployed families with children under five
years – if temperatures drop below zero for seven consecutive days
Under these new proposals, the utility companies will increase their contribution to
the government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme by 30 % over
the next three years. Utility companies will now contribute around £3 billion to the
CERT scheme by April 2011.
It is worthy of note that the free insulation measures have been available to the over
70’s since April 2008, and for other pensioners, disabled people and families with
young children in receipt of an income related benefit for a number of years.
Also, the 50% discount on insulation measures is not a new initiative as this has
been available for five years.
The Basis of Intervention
The Council recognises that most householders in Solihull will continue to be able to
purchase sufficient energy for their homes from the market to enable them to enjoy
an adequate level of heating.
However the existence of fuel poverty in Solihull shows that the market cannot meet
the energy requirements of all Solihull households on acceptable financial terms.
Given that fuel poverty contributes to health and other wellbeing problems the
Council and partner agencies have an interest in intervening to address these issues.
The Council also recognises that many householders invest in the energy efficiency
of their homes through upgrading heating and insulation. However, it is clear that
many households require financial assistance or encouragement to do so.
Again the Council and partners have an interest in maximising this investment as it
reduces the risk of fuel poverty and contributes to the environmental objectives of the
Council and the Solihull Partnership.
A broad range of actions is available to the Council and its partners in promoting
energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty. The fundamental aspect of the Council’s
approach to promoting energy efficiency is that interventions should be focused on:
(a) influencing the actions of developers before new homes are built
(b) working with social and private landlords to improve the thermal performance of
homes in their management
(c) making consumers aware of how they can improve the energy efficiency of their
homes through buying products and services from the market
(d) reducing or removing the cost of market solutions to those who cannot afford
In the appraisal of options the following strategic principles have been adopted:
- we will utilise external funding streams as the main source of funding wherever
possible, using public money to top-up external funding or for activities which
cannot be externally funded.
- we will seek to ensure that residents are aware of the financial and environmental
benefits that can be realised through energy efficiency investments and the way
in which heating and other appliances are used.
- we will support initiatives that provide insulation and heating measures that are;
appropriate to the needs of residents, readily available, can be installed with
minimum disruption to the householder and which offer year on year financial and
environmental benefits to residents.
- we will promote energy efficiency measures that are cost effective in terms of
both installation and running costs, providing maximum gain for the lowest cost
- we will ensure that vulnerable households are able to access appropriate advice
and assistance and receive financial support for the installation of energy
The Council is aware that in promoting energy efficiency, as in other matters, one
approach will not meet all requirements. There are considerable differences in the
circumstances and requirements of residents across the Borough, such as age,
financial capacity and the characteristics of their home. These variations require
The prime division is between residents who are (a) ‘able to pay’ for improvements to
their homes and for energy-saving measures, (b) those who are unable or unwilling
to do so without some assistance or inducement and (c) those who are completely
unable to invest.
Within each of these basic groups there are differences in householders’ interest in
energy efficiency. The Energy Savings Trust have been able to identify segments of
the customer base that are more likely to be interested in protecting the environment
and therefore have a high interest in energy saving products and renewable
technologies. These tend to be amongst the more affluent groups living in larger
homes and consequently have the potential to save the most energy given the right
Conversely, families with high expenditure on everyday living and those poorer
families and elderly couples on fixed incomes are less likely to be able to invest in
this way, even if they see the advantages of doing so financially or environmentally.
For these consumers the focus is on financial incentives, the maximisation of income
and the subsidised provision of energy saving materials and appliances.
The Strategy focuses particularly on those that need assistance, particularly those on
low incomes who are in or at risk of fuel poverty. However, it is also concerned with
how to encourage the more affluent consumer to invest further in energy saving
measures. This will become particularly important in the coming years as the cost of
renewable technologies fall within the reasonable reach of better-off consumers
Research undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust suggests that the number of
people who are aware of the issues relating to energy efficiency and ultimately
Climate Change is increasing. However, there are still a considerable number of
people who have taken no action and therefore the scope for further improvement is
considerable, although the difficult economic conditions faced by most households
will reduce the ability or propensity of many to invest if there is no quick payback.
TYPES OF INTERVENTION
The available options divide broadly into those which:
- influence the actions of developers of new homes
- assist home owners to improve their homes or change their behaviour as
- assist landlords to improve the homes which they manage and the services which
they provide to tenants and leaseholders.
1. Pre Development Interventions
The Council has a strong interest in influencing the product of the development
industry. Whilst basic standards for energy efficiency are required by the Building
Regulations, there is increasing scope for bettering this.
The activities include:
- Enforcing the statutory requirements of the Building Regulations, part L of which
lay down minimum standards to be achieved in development.
- Setting down further requirements in planning obligations, such as the adoption of
the Merton requirement for use of renewable energy sources in certain
- Negotiation with developers to encourage higher environmental standards rather
than meeting minimum requirements
- The regeneration of North Solihull, which will involve the construction of up to
8,000 new homes, provides an exceptional opportunity to raise the level of
environmental design. A Design Code has been adopted for all new housing
developments in the regeneration area. This requires all new homes to be at least
at level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes (which broadly equates to Eco
Homes Good standard) and a statement on the use of renewable sources to
accompany all planning applications for new housing developments. For large
developments Combined Heat and Power and Biomass will be explored as well
as district heating systems.
The Home Energy Conservation Officer (HECO) liaises with the various directorates
of the Council which have roles in maximising the authority’s leverage on these
Again, the recent downturn in the housing market, particularly in new build, is
reducing the scope for these activities. Additionally developers are likely to be less
willing to take on additional development costs which they would normally seek to
pass on to purchasers in a buoyant market.
2. Post Development Interventions – home owners
While raising the standard of new development is important, most impact on home
energy efficiency and affordable warmth will be made through investing in existing
As approximately 80% of homes in Solihull are owner-occupied, much of the activity
of the strategy is aimed at assisting homeowners to heat and improve the energy
efficiency of their homes.
Based on the principles set out at page 12, the available assistance reflects the
needs of different segments of the customer base.
Table 3: Advice and assistance available to residents
Able To Pay Need Help to Fuel poor
Energy efficiency Advice
Reduction Target funding
Take the LEAD
It is widely acknowledged that in order to achieve reductions in CO2 and reduce fuel
poverty, the profile of energy efficiency, in relation to financial and environmental
benefits, must be raised. To this end, every opportunity is taken to promote energy
efficiency and affordable warmth to all residents, regardless of their financial
The Council uses a range of low cost and free ways to do this and will continue to
develop new approaches. Current activities which will continue include:
- Temperature cards with contact details of the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre
are distributed through libraries and given out by Officers to residents. By
November 2008 approx. 2,500 had been distributed.
- Articles for newsletters are produced by the Home Energy Conservation Officer,
most recently for the SCH tenants newsletter.
- Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL’s) given to the Council free of charge by
British Gas and Powergen as part of their CERT funding requirement are
distributed to low-income households via various Council services including the
Handyperson Service, Homecheck scheme and SCH which provides them to all
new tenants as part of the SCH welcome pack. Over 9,500 were distributed in
- A Warm Front mail out with Council Tax Benefit notification letters was completed
in April 2008.
- An energy advice surgery was held in November 2008 to support clients of Age
Concern in Castle Bromwich.
In addition to promotional material provided to residents, Council and other agencies’
staff have attended an Affordable Warmth Training Programme which has been
developed and presented by the Home Energy Conservation Officer. By the end of
2007/8 over 800 staff from the Council, the Health Trust, SCH and Age Concern had
received training as well as 240 residents. The training enables key workers to
recognise households that may be fuel poor and to refer vulnerable residents to
sources of advice and assistance on energy efficiency and affordable warmth.
During 2007/8 the Energy Conservation Officer received 35 referrals from trained
staff as well as in excess of 180 calls from residents requiring further information. It
is evident from the increase in calls to the Advice Centre and the number of enquiries
received by the Energy Conservation Officer that the training has had a positive effect
and vulnerable residents are receiving help and information from sources they have
A Winter Warmth Campaign, launched in December 2008, brings together the work
undertaken by internal and external partners to ensure that vulnerable households
receive information about how to access energy efficiency measures and keep warm
The need to provide independent energy efficiency advice is an important element of
Consequently, the Council has developed a long tem partnership with the Central
Midlands Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (CMEEAC) to provide free and
independent energy efficiency advice to all residents of Solihull. Subsidised by the
Energy Saving Trust (EST), advice Centre staff are available to offer advice and
assistance, carry out home visits to vulnerable residents, attend promotional events,
support Council open days and assist with training as directed by the Home Energy
The Advice Centre provides the Council with data resulting from the contacts with
residents and through the distribution and completion of Home Energy Check
During 2007/08 a total of 5,254 Solihull residents benefited from independent energy
efficiency advice through freephone and freepost facilities and outreach events
including information about national and local grants and energy initiatives from the
Advice Centre. The advice centre has now developed a “grow your own energy”
website to enable residents to evaluate the use of renewable energy sources that
may be applicable for their own homes. The cost of this service to the Council (after
subsidy from the Energy Saving Trust) is £19,000 per annum.
Works to Homes
We will continue to develop pro-active approaches to generate interest and take-up
of solutions by vulnerable households, particularly where they live in homes where
category 1 hazards have been identified.
There is potential for area based work in line with the Private Sector Renewal
Strategy. We aim to establish a Focus Area in the Cranmore area of Shirley during
We offer a range of energy efficiency measures utilising funding from Warm Front,
CERT, client contributions, grant and loans.
We will continue to work with the North Solihull Regeneration Partnership to improve
retained owner-occupied homes in the regeneration area, including improving energy
Works to improve energy efficiency and to provide affordable warmth will remain an
important part of the overall private sector housing renewal approach.
Types of Work
Where an occupier qualifies for assistance in having energy-related work done to
their home (or when they are given advice on the matter) our strategy is clear on the
order of priority of different types of work.
1. Cavity Wall Insulation should be completed prior to the consideration of other
energy efficiency measures due to its cost-effectiveness in reducing heat loss. This
work attracts Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) Funding from utility
companies and is free to vulnerable residents who are in receipt of an income related
2. Loft Insulation is also widely used and accepted as a cost-effective way of
preventing heat escaping from the home. This also attracts CERT funding from utility
companies and is also free to vulnerable residents who are in receipt of an income-
3. Draught proofing can be free to Warm Front clients but is only available when
allied to other insulation or heating works.
4. Boiler Replacement - It is now Council policy to install condensing boilers where
practicable in both private and public sector homes as this is currently the most cost
effective way of providing space and water heating in the home. Grant funding is
limited as these are now required by the Building Regulations, but Warm Front
funding is used where possible and Renovation Grant funding may be available for
applicants who cannot obtain assistance from Warm Front.
Other intervention methods that may be considered are:
5. External cladding is a good form of insulation to homes without cavity walls. It is,
however, expensive to install and there is a long period before payback. Low levels
of grant funding are available from utility companies as part of their Energy Efficiency
Commitment. Solihull Community Housing may wish to use external cladding as part
of the refurbishment of multi-story blocks.
6. Internal Dry Lining is also a good form of insulation to homes without cavity walls,
however there is a potential loss of living space and major disruption for occupants.
Again, Low levels of grant funding are available from utility companies as part of their
Energy Efficiency Commitment.
7. It is anticipated that the installation of renewable energy technology will become
more affordable over time and as this happens we will factor-in renewables to our
options appraisals. The extent to which we can do this will depend in part on
householders’ financial ability and propensity to invest in the technology. Further
information on renewables is given at page 18 below.
3. Post Development Interventions (landlords and tenants)
Approximately 13,100 households in Solihull rent their home from a public sector
landlord, 11,000 from Solihull Community Housing and 2,100 from a housing
Whilst this is a smaller number than in the private sector, tenants of SCH and
housing association are more likely to be older and on lower incomes than Solihull
households generally. Ensuring that tenants and leaseholders benefit from energy
efficiency and affordable warmth improvements is therefore an important aspect of
All public sector housing must meet the Decent Homes standard by 2010 for
housing associations and 2012 for SCH. The standard includes a thermal comfort
criterion so energy efficiency related work is a key part of the programmes that have
been put in place by social landlords to ensure that their properties achieve the
For SCH, a major programme of works has been put in place that will see
approximately 8,900 homes improved over the period 2002 to 2012. In terms of
energy efficiency and affordable warmth the programme includes:
- new central heating systems to 4,385 homes
- double glazing to 4,411 homes
- insulation measures to 4,127 homes
The works are funded by the Council’s Housing Capital Programme that has been
enhanced by up to an additional £63m that SCH secured through achieving 2-star
status at inspection.
Carbon Emissions Reduction Target funding has been arranged via British Gas as
part of their ‘Here to HELP’ programme. In excess of £900,000 is available to SCH
over the lifetime of the Decent Homes Programme for loft and cavity wall insulation
At the commencement of SCH’s Decent Homes programme the overall SAP for
homes in their management was 46. By the end of the programme in 2012 this is
expected to have increased to 67.
Most of the capital resources available to SCH until 2012 will be spent on the Decent
Homes programme. There will be some investment in other aspects of property
maintenance, particularly on health and safety issues, but it will not be until after
2012 that significant investments in non – decent homes related work can be carried
out unless additional funding is received.
In order to focus on activity that can significantly improve energy efficiency in the
short and longer term SCH are developing a Climate Change Plan. This will
consider the investment needs of different types of housing and how the overall SAP
rating can be most cost-effectively improved using internal and external insulation
and new renewable energy technologies can be used. These are expected to
become more affordable as capital costs and payback periods reduce over coming
One example of what can be achieved through additional external funding is the pilot
project to install photovoltaic cells onto seven multi - storey blocks to reduce the cost
of the landlord lighting in communal areas that was completed in December 2007.
This project secured grant funding of 50% (£108,000) from the Low Carbon
Buildings Programme. Due to the success of this project a further 30 installations
are planned for 2008/09/10 at a cost of £960,000. Funding from the Low carbon
Buildings Programme will be sought to supplement a 25% contribution from both the
council (Single Capital Pot bid) and Solihull Community Housing. Work is due to
begin on site in November 2008.
Solihull Community Housing have allocated £100,000 for a new pilot project to install
Ground Source and Air Source heat pumps together with Solar thermal systems in
social housing. There is also the potential for Frank Haslam Milan, a Decent Homes
partner, to develop an Eco-home in Solihull in 2008/09.
In addition to investing in the housing stock, SCH are assisting in the implementation
of other aspects of the strategy, particularly advice and economic issues.
The Here to HELP programme administered by British Gas offers residents a free
benefits health check and support from a number of charity partners i.e., Help the
Aged, RNIB, SCOPE, National Debtline, Save the Children and the Family Welfare
Association. The take up of this support is monitored by British Gas and annually
reported to the Home Energy Conservation Officer. This links to the proactive
approach that SCH are taking on reducing debt and maximising benefits take-up
amongst tenants and leaseholders.
SCH and the Council are currently developing an Affinity scheme with EBICo, a not
for profit company that offer both gas and electric at a competitive rate and does not
charge standing fees. EBICo also charges one rate across their price structure
regardless of payment methods. In effect this means that those on prepayment
meters are not disadvantaged compared to customers who pay by direct debit or
quarterly payment. This is of benefit to fuel poor households and those with a fixed
income as it is they that often use prepayment meters.
The Affinity deal allows EBICo to change the utility supply contract for gas and
electricity when a property becomes void. A small fee is paid to SCH and this money
can be used to help finance other projects that aim to combat fuel poverty.
At 31st March 2008, 155 clients had switched to EBICo.
The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group’s 2007 Annual Report states that only one in fifteen
fuel-poor households use a social tariff including 0.05% Npower, and 2.3 of British
Gas customers. The government’s most recent budget called for energy suppliers to
increase spending on social tariffs from £50M to £150M.
Renewable Energy Technologies
There is already evidence that some better-off householders have been investing in
solar and wind technologies and this trend is expected to continue with more
householders coming to see renewables as a viable investment, depending on
capital costs and payback periods; subject to the impact of the economic downturn
on individual households.
Our strategy is to increase knowledge of the possibilities that renewables can present
to householders through information and advice. We will also keep under review the
contribution that renewables can make to cost-effective solutions for customers who
require assistance to afford energy efficiency improvements.
Given the rapid development of these options, the following assessment of what they
can offer in terms of additional solutions to able-to-pay and fuel-poor households will
need to be updated regularly, as will our strategic approach.
Solar Thermal Systems - are the most common form of renewable technology used
in the UK and have been in use for over 30 years. All systems require a solar
collection panel (usually placed on the roof, south facing), a solar heating cylinder
and a pumping station. Solar thermal systems generate energy when the light levels
are strong enough and in an average UK dwelling will provide up to 60% of the
energy required to heat hot water. Systems can be fitted in new and existing
buildings with 30% grant funding currently available via the DTI’s Low Carbon
Photovoltaic panels can provide up to 60% of all the electricity used in a domestic
dwelling i.e. heating, lighting and appliances. As Photovoltaic installations are
currently the most expensive renewable technology, 50% grant funding is available
via the DTI’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Systems can be fitted in new and
Wind Turbines – the efficiency of single-property installations is dependent upon the
location of the home. Customers need to have a structural survey of their property
prior to installation. These are still expensive and there is a long period before
payback. Grant funding of 30% of the capital cost is available from utility companies
and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.
Ground Source Heat Pumps - operate by extracting heat from the ground using
refrigerant gases, raising the temperature of the gas by compression and then
dumping the heat to a suitable medium i.e. water. The heat is passed around the
property through a wet central heating system, through radiators or under floor
heating. The heat from the ground is obtained by digging a trench 2 metres below the
surface for a distance of 40 metres or a borehole drilled 100 metres deep. There will
be a need to install over- sized radiators as the temperature of the water is between
35-45 degrees centigrade compared to output flow from gas boilers of 80C. These
are expensive to retro fit although they should be considered in new build. 35% grant
funding is available toward installation costs.
Combined heat and power - is a possible solution on new developments and for
single dwellings. In the home, a micro-CHP unit resembling a gas-fired boiler will
provide both heat for space and water heating, as does a boiler, but also electricity to
power domestic lights and appliances. Micro-CHP units are a very new technology
only recently appearing in the UK market, but the potential for them is as large as the
number of homes in the country. The main design criterion is that, to make the
investment worthwhile, there must be a need for both the heat and electricity
produced by the CHP unit.
Biomass - fuels from three sources - waste wood from industrial or domestic use,
wood chips made from chipping of waste wood and tree toppings and wood pellets
made from trees grown for the purpose or processed from timber yard off-cuts. There
are a variety of heating appliances that can burn biomass fuels. Some appliances, as
well as providing room heating can also provide hot water. The control of biomass
heating appliances is relatively difficult to achieve storage of the biomass fuel is also
a consideration that may limit its applications.
During the past three years approximately £10M public and £31M private funding has
been utilised through the Home Efficiency and Affordable Warmth strategy.1
Estimates calculated using HECA data (2005-2008)
Over the period 2007 – 2010 it is expected that a further £48m will be committed to
home energy conservation and affordable warmth activity via this strategy. An
estimated £18m of this will be public finance with owner-occupiers investing an
estimated £27m. The latter are subject to the impact of economic trends and
householders’ confidence and their ability and propensity to invest in their homes.
Table 4: Estimates calculated using HECA data (2005-2008)
Funding Stream 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 Totals
Housing 4.5M 4.5M 4.5M 13.5M
Renovation grants 0.1M 0.1M 0.1M 0.3M
EEC Funding 0.2M 0.2M 0.2M 0.6M
Warm Front 0.9M 0.9M 0.9M 2.7M
Private Sector (owner
occupiers) 10M 10M 10M 30M
In recognition of the fact that many Solihull residents cannot afford – or be
reasonably expected to afford – to invest in energy efficiency, a major part of the
Strategy involves reducing or removing the cost of improvements to occupiers.
This is achieved primarily through four externally funded schemes that are continually
Table 5: Levered Funding 2005-09
Levered Funding 2005-09
Warm Front CERT TTL Renewables
The Warm Front scheme is the primary source of assistance. The Energy Action
Grants Agency (EAGA) provides heating and insulation measures to vulnerable
private sector households in receipt of an income-related benefit. The average
annual contribution from Warm Front in Solihull is £800,000.
The number of installations carried out by the Warm Front scheme has increased
over the past 2 years and this trend is likely to continue. Prior to the development of
Warm Front, vulnerable households were entitled to financial support in the form of
Renovation Grants from the local authority. Therefore, this scheme provides both
levered in funding and a saving to the local authority in terms of reduced Renovation
As a consequence of the introduction of grant maxima in June 2005, 5% of Warm
Front clients now have a contribution to make prior to the works commencing. In
order to assist vulnerable clients our strategy has been and will continue to provide a
grant of up to £500 to help meet client contributions.
To date we have assisted 51 clients with their contributions at a cost of £22,800.
Without this support vulnerable clients would not be able to work with EAGA and may
turn to the local authority for assistance with the full cost of the heating works. It is
estimated that this realises a saving to the council of £97,500.
We will continue to promote Warm Front and offer assistance with client contributions
thereby ensuring that energy efficiency measures are available to households in
The Take the LEAD (Loans, Energy Advice and Discounts) scheme began in
November 1999 as a joint venture between Solihull, Herefordshire and Sandwell
Councils. Initially a 3 year HECAction project, funded by the Energy Saving Trust,
this project encourages able to pay private sector householders to invest in energy
efficiency in their homes.
The project provides advice on the range of energy efficiency technologies available,
details of suppliers, information on insulation grants, discounted insulation measures
and access to a revolving interest free loan fund of £70,000. Within Solihull to date,
82 loan applications have been agreed totalling in excess of £100,000. The loan fund
is available to all residents of the Borough (subject to a personal credit check) and
our strategy will to be to continue into 2007/8.
‘Take the LEAD’ now includes details of renewable technologies to ensure that ‘able
to pay’ residents have easy access to new ways of heating/ lighting their homes
Details of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target funding and the Low Carbon
Buildings Programme can be found at page 18 and 19.
DEVELOPING THE STRATEGY
As energy efficiency and affordable warmth are important wellbeing issues for
residents and for the environment, Council and partner agencies will be involved in
maximising our opportunities in this field.
Working with colleagues from the Council and partner agencies, the Home Energy
Efficiency Officer has the lead responsibility for ensuring that the objectives of this
strategy are realised.
1. Partnerships and Support
Successful implementation of strategy on home energy efficiency and affordable
warmth depends on effective partnerships.
The HECO maintains and develops partnerships with relevant business sectors,
including energy suppliers, housing developers, social and private landlords, the
North Solihull Regeneration Partnership and support organisations such as Hestia,
CMEEAC, Age Concern and others.
Through this network the HECO has raised and will continue to promote the profile of
energy efficiency and affordable warmth and the options which are available to
organisations to contribute to the objectives of the strategy.
Through the Council’s corporate Energy Development Group (EDG) which is tasked
with developing the linkages between strategy and operational delivery, the HECO
will ensure that the Council’s forthcoming Climate Change Strategy takes full account
of the needs and opportunities of the residential sector. The HECO is a member of
the Climate Change officer group that is charged with achieving reductions in Co2
emissions across the Borough.
The HECO has assisted SCH to develop its Climate Change Plan and specific
initiatives within it (most recently the Photovoltaic panels on high-rise blocks).
2. Knowledge and understanding of the energy market and emerging
Resources available to the Council and partners to improve energy efficiency and
affordable warmth are limited, so it is essential that they are applied in an effective
way. For this it is essential that the Council develops a clear understanding of the
issues and possible solutions.
The HECO will further develop and update intelligence on all matters relating to the
Energy supply - price trends, market changes and supply options
Strategic framework – including government and other targets for sustainability
and current financial and other initiatives to work toward these
Development industry – economic aspects of housing supply and scope for
improving the environmental performance of new homes
Support for consumers – agencies and new approaches to providing advice and
assistance to all market segments
Renewable technology – products and their applicability and affordability for
business sectors and consumers
Fuel poverty – extent and characteristics, trends and scope for reduction
3. Assistance for Home Owners
Providing advice and assistance to all home-owners in the Borough is a key objective
of the strategy. The approach taken will vary according to the circumstances of the
customer. There will be a particular focus on the needs of vulnerable people who are
in or at risk of fuel poverty and on homes with a low SAP.
The HECO will continue to work with internal and external agencies in order to
provide support for home-owners to save energy and adequately heat their homes
Ensuring that free advice and assistance is available to all residents through the
CMEEAC via an annual Service Level agreement
Ensuring that the availability of financial assistance to help owners improve their
homes is maximised and targeted in the most cost – effective way through the
use of external and internal funding i.e. CERT and Warm Front
Ensuring that where customers require and qualify for assistance in carrying out
works to their home that this is done efficiently in line with the principles set out
in this strategy. – The Service Level Agreement with the CMEEAC requires
assist to be available from accredited insulation installers and the advice staff to
have received relevant training.
Devising new pro-active approaches to encourage and assist vulnerable home
owners to invest in energy efficiency improvements as part of the private sector
renewal strategy – Warm Front and take the LEAD mail outs were carried out
during 2007/08. Winter Warmth campaign planned for 2008/09.
Co-ordinating a Winter Warmth campaign for 2008/09 and ensuring that this is
taken up annually by the Solihull Partnership.
4. Assistance for Landlords
Landlords have their own responsibilities for the environmental performance of
homes in their management and the wellbeing of their tenants.
The HECO will provide advice and assistance to landlords on meeting their
responsibilities and continually improving their housing offer and services to their
tenants and leaseholders.
This will include:
- continuing to help and advise SCH on investment options for the Decent Homes
programme and supporting initiatives consistent with the climate change policy
- helping landlords to access external funding such as CERT and Warm Front
- monitoring the progress of SCH and housing associations on improving the SAP
rating of homes in their management and assisting with EPC production
- continuing to assist landlords to address the financial wellbeing of tenants and
leaseholders through advice on options to reduce the cost of fuel (e.g. affinity
schemes and tariff optimisation) and pay for consumption (e.g. benefit checks)
5. North Solihull Regeneration
The HECO will provide advice to the Regeneration Partnership on:
- the content of, and need to update, the North Solihull Design Code on matters
related to this strategy.
- the scope and opportunities for multi-property pre-development solutions e.g.
Combined Heat and Power and renewable energy technologies.
- Progress of the regeneration programme in raising the overall SAP of the homes
in the area
Statutory Target 2008/09 Targets 2009/10 Targets
Achieve the Government Overall, the Decent Homes As 2008/9; additionally, new
target of 100% of homes in Programme is on target. initiatives including the
the social sector to be at or Additionally, external funding provision of energy
above the Decent Homes has been levered in for SCH monitoring devices to SCH
standard by the end of 2012. to install and hot water tank tenanted and leasehold
This includes a thermal jackets and other insulation properties will be
comfort criterion. measures implemented.
Achieve the Government The Government’s Decent n/a
target of at least 75% of Homes target in relation to
homes in the private sector private sector homes has
which are occupied by been discontinued.
households with at least one
vulnerable person to be at or
above the Decent Homes
standard by the end of 2010.
This also includes the
thermal comfort criterion.
Statutory Target 2008/09 Targets 2009/10 Targets
Work towards the eradication Continue to
A reduction in the number of Mitigate the impact of fuel
of fuel poverty in line with fuel poor homes was price increases and therefore
government targets achieved in 2007/08. The the number of householders
impact of fuel price increases in fuel poverty. No numerical
during 2008 will be felt during target is possible because
winter 2008/09 by residents the major determinant (fuel
and the numbers in fuel price) is beyond Council
poverty will increase control.
Achieve the Home Energy The 25% reduction target has n/a
Conservation Act target of a been met three years earlier
25% reduction in CO2 than envisaged
emissions from residential
properties (from 1990 levels)
Local Target 2008/09 Targets 2009/10 Targets
Raise the overall average The average SAP rating of maintain the annual
SAP of the Borough’s the housing stock in Solihull improvement in SAP across
housing stock (all tenures) to increase to 57. all sectors in order to
from 55 to 58 by 2010. achieve an average SAP of
58 by 2010.
Proportion of homes in the 75% 75%
private sector which are
occupied by households with
at least one vulnerable
person which do not have a
cold – related category 1
Increase the number of 3,500 contacts were made in 4,235 contacts
residents accessing advice 2007/08. A 10% increase
and assistance from, or requires 3850 contacts in
contacted by, the Central 2008/9.
Midlands Energy Efficiency
Advice Centre by 10% per
annum (review 2010).
Provide Energy and Provide Energy and As 2008/9
Affordable Warmth training to Affordable Warmth training to
a minimum of 50 front line a minimum of 50 front line
staff per annum (review staff per annum.
Targeted level of levered £1m £1.5m
funding from external
sources for energy efficiency
projects in all tenures.
Number of grants of up to 30 grants 50 grants
£500 to vulnerable residents
who have a Warm Front
client contribution (review
Appendix 1 - Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA)
In order to notify Government of policies and strategies that are likely to result in a
significant improvement in the energy efficiency of housing in Solihull the annual
HECA report is submitted to the Department of the Environment, Farming and Rural
Following submission of the 9th HECA report (September 2005), commendation has
been received from Government Office for the West Midlands congratulating the
Council on its achievements and clarity of calculations.
Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA)
The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) - requires all local authorities to
submit to the Secretary of State an annual Energy Conservation report identifying
their policies and strategies that are likely to result in a significant improvement in the
energy efficiency of all housing in their area.
Solihull’s initial HECA submission, which was made in 1996, set an estimated energy
usage baseline of 8,613,951 Giga Joules (GJ) and a CO2 emissions figure of
622,147 tonnes. These baseline figures were achieved by the completion of a
calculation spreadsheet received from the Building Research Energy Conservation
Unit based upon age, property type and number of dwellings in the Borough together
with details of energy efficiency measures previously installed.
Government guidance states that annual improvements in energy efficiency should
be calculated using these baseline figures. Realising a reduction in CO2 emissions
requires counting the number of new energy efficiency measures installed, assigning
each measure its specific CO2 emissions reduction value and then subtracting this
total from the baseline.
Solihull's target is to increase energy efficiency by 25% over a 15-year period (1995 -
2010). Based upon annually reported increases in energy efficiency, to date a
25.63% CO2 reduction has been achieved. The 25% reduction goal has been
achieved 3 years earlier that envisaged.
Appendix 2 – Energy Timeline
30% improvement in
Deadline for UK energy efficiency in
New housing developments to be
implementation of 10-15 years, from
zero carbon by 2016 (England)
European Energy 1996 baseline
Performance of (England)
Building Regulations Part L
(England & Wales) to be updated
to support this zero carbon target
Code for (Building a Greener Future,
Sustainable Homes UK 12.5% CO2 2006)
UK 20% CO2
level 3 required for emissions
affordable housing reduction by
developments 2008-2012 from
(England) 1990 baseline
commitment, 1997) UK 60% CO2 emissions
(Housing (Kyoto Protocol)
Corporation reduction by 2050
25% increase in UK 26-32%
National Affordable (Energy White Paper,
energy performance 44% increase in CO2 emissions
on 2006 Building energy performance reduction by
Programme, 2008- on 2006 Building 2020
Regulations Part L The Energy White
1011) Regulations Part L
(England & Wales) Paper- Meeting the
(England & Wales) (Draft Climate
CPA 2008 to Energy Challenge (May
(Building a Greener Change Bill,
include CO2 (Building a Greener March 2007) 2007) re-affirms this
indicators (England) Future, 2006) target
2008 2010 2011 2012 2013 2016 2020
UK and England carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction targets and other key milestones
2007 - 2050 25
Appendix 3 – Stakeholder Partnership Web
STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIP WEB
FORUMS THE COUNCIL
Energy Development Group, Supported Housing Officers and Elected Members. Corporate
Partnership. Identification of projects, Funding, Commitment to energy conservation.
INDUSTRY and BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTAL CO-ORDINATION
Sponsorship, discounts promotion, advice, and LA 21. Corporate Energy Management.
partnerships. Installers. Energy purchasing/efficient design.
HOUSING AGENCIES HOUSING
Estate agents, private landlords, residents HECA. Warm Front. Grants and repairs.
associations, housing associations etc. ALMO
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EDUCATION
DSS, DEFRA, DTI. Legislation, information and EFFICIENCY Community links. Health and poverty issues.
VOLUNTARY SECTOR SOCIAL CARE AND PERFORMANCE
CAB, Shelter, Age Concern etc. Community links. Health and poverty issues.
HEALTH ORGANISATIONS LEISURE
Clinics, GP Surgeries, Hospitals. Community links. Health and lifestyles.
Identify need. Information and advice.
MEDIA LIBRARIES and ARTS
Newspapers, Radio and TV Stations. Information services/outlets. Mobile services.
SUPPORT AGENCIES FINANCE
CMEEAC, BRE, EST, EAGA etc. Billing, debt recovery, benefits, rents.
Green boxes denotes membership of Solihull’s corporate Energy Development Group (EDG)
Appendix 4 – Links with other council
LINKS WITH OTHER COUNCIL STRATEGIES
Framework Local Area
Energy Efficiency and Disability Strategy
Affordable Warmth in (Enabled not Disabled)
Education Strategy Solihull
(Every Child Matters)
Strategy Community Strategy